Jewish World Review Sept. 29, 2004 /14 Tishrei, 5765

Edward I. Koch

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Assessing which candidate terrorists would prefer is well within the bounds of political discourse | Last Saturday, The New York Times, which has not yet formally endorsed a presidential candidate, published an editorial that could have passed for a piece of Kerry campaign literature.

The editorial was titled "An Un-American Way to Campaign." The last paragraph summed up The Times' attack on Bush and its support for Kerry. "We think that anyone who attempts to portray sincere critics as dangerous to the safety of the nation is wrong. It reflects badly on the president's character that in this instance, he's putting his own ambition ahead of the national good."

The editorial does not quote President Bush, but it does quote Vice President Cheney, Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senator Orrin Hatch. Cheney is quoted as saying "that electing Mr. Kerry would create a danger that we'll get hit again." Hastert, according to The Times, "said recently on television that al-Qaeda would do better under a Kerry presidency," and wrote The Times, "Senator Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has announced that the terrorists are going to do everything they can do between now and November 'to try to elect Kerry.'"

Are any of these statements beyond the pale of political discourse or un-American? I don't think so.

The Times editorial went on to say that "It is absolutely not all right for anyone on [President Bush's] team to suggest that Mr. Kerry is the favored candidate of the terrorists." But shouldn't the real question be, "Do terrorists in fact prefer one candidate over another?"

No one is suggesting that Islamic terrorists approve of any American presidential candidate, all of whom are Christians. According to Bernard Lewis, America's foremost scholar on Islam, "The Wahhabi demand, as far as I know, is not that Christians and Jews convert to Islam, but that they accept the supremacy of Islam and the rule of the Muslim state. On that condition, they may continue in the practice of their religion."

But just as I and millions of Americans believe Kerry and Bush differ in their approaches to international terrorism, you can be certain that bin Laden, al-Zarqawi and other Islamic terrorists recognize these differences. Surely they know which presidential candidate would be more likely to wage war against them and the countries that harbor them, with or without United Nations support, and pursue them until they are defeated.

Donate to JWR

Kerry apparently believes we should never have waged war to liberate Iraq in the first place, and that we should get out of Iraq as soon as possible, preferably within a year. Indeed, Kerry and 46 other U.S. Senators, including Senator Ted Kennedy, voted against the Gulf War of 1991. Remember, the U.S. responded to an attack by Iraq on Kuwait and a threatened attack by Iraq on Saudi Arabia. Kerry still has not explained his opposition to waging war against Iraq on that occasion. In Gulf War II, he has flipped-flopped: voting for it, then opposing it. Bush's statement, "We'll get the job done as quickly as possible, and then we'll bring our troops home — not one day longer than necessary," evinces a commitment to get the job done.

Kerry's supporters, especially the so-called "Deaniac" delegates, believe we should have been out of Iraq yesterday, and Kerry has donned the mantle of Howard Dean as the anti-war candidate. Is it unreasonable to think that the Iraqi insurgents, Jihadists and terrorists would prefer a president whose policies seem most likely to give radical Islam the ultimate victory? If they didn't, they would be stupid, and stupid they are not.

The terrorists who blew up the commuter trains in Madrid a few days before the Spanish elections in March 2004 , timed their attacks to influence the outcome of those elections. The attacks had their intended effect. The 200 deaths and 1,400 casualties caused a Spanish government committed to the war against terrorism and a military commitment to assist us in Iraq to topple. Similarly, the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center on 9/11 may have hoped to undermine U.S. resolve. If a person with less steel in his spine than George W. Bush had been in the White House, our resolve might have crumbled in the face of that horrific terrorist act.

There are five weeks left to the campaign. Kerry supporters in large part realize the country is headed in a direction different than where he and The Times would take us. I predict a margin of victory approaching eight points for President Bush. Adding to Kerry's problems is the fact that he stirs no passion among his supporters. Contrast that with the deep passion Bush supporters have for their candidate. Many of Kerry's current followers can be persuaded to switch to Bush. Many more may stay home on November 2nd. I fear that Kerry will drag many moderate Democrats down to defeat.

For The Times to attack the President's character is truly injurious to the nation. Referring to his campaign as un-American is ludicrous.

Every weekday publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Sunday from 9-10 am . Comment by clicking here.

09/27/04: Why is the NYTimes ignoring the religious element of Islamics' terrorism?
09/09/04: Muslim terrorists are victims: The view from NYTimes Land
08/18/04: Anti-Bush demonstrators know they can help re-elect prez
08/12/04: I've been branded a ‘turncoat’
07/28/04: If everyone is deemed responsible, no one is responsible
07/20/04: Why Bush must win
07/14/04: The crass class
07/07/04: Potpourri
06/29/04: Moore is an irresponsible propagandist who would have denounced WW II, too
06/16/04: Behind every hero
06/08/04: Reagan's afterlife on Earth
05/19/04: We should not be pleading with the U.N. for help — we should be demanding it
05/12/04: Abu Ghraib will go away but Rummy — and Bush — shouldn't
04/20/04: Freedom of what?
03/03/04: Wake-up call: Prez will be defeated if he doesn't take action to stop other dangerous attack
03/12/04: Yes, Jews do engage in anti-Semitic behavior
02/04/04: History will judge Bush favorably
01/28/04: Why the President was justified — David Kay or not
01/15/04: It is not compassionate or intelligent to open our borders to all
12/24/03: Why I'm voting for Bush
11/26/03: Appeasement only whets the appetite of aggressors
11/06/03: Putin's prosecution of the oligarchs can teach a powerful lesson about anti-Semitism
07/30/03: As the world churns
07/23/03: America not so different than Russia in pursuing white collar criminals
07/16/03: Dems, media are making an unforgivable mistake
06/18/03: Keep American troops out of Israel
05/22/03: It's lots of fun to remain relevant
05/14/03: Living up to their mascot's image? Dems attacks on prez are backfiring
05/07/03: Wall Street settlement was not justice
04/16/03: The doves were proven wrong. Instead of conceding defeat, they are throwing another political tantrum
04/09/03: As the world churns
04/03/03: Gulf War II: The misleading media does it again
03/18/03: Have the courage to admit it, Pat: You're a classic anti-Semite who gives conservatives a bad name
03/12/03: "There they go again"? Not quite!
03/05/03: Making the case for war on British TV left some panelists stunned
02/20/03: Death penalty=racism? Don't confuse them with the facts
02/12/03: History is now repeating itself --- why don't the American bashers grasp it?
02/05/03: As the world turns
01/30/03: Why are sports exempt from racial diversity and universities encouraged to engage in racial preferences over individual academic achievement?
01/23/03: We absolutely can't back down
11/13/02: President blunted the Ted Kennedys of Democrat party --- good for him!
10/23/02: New Jersey's bigot laureate is no private citizen and his 'defenses' are idiotic
10/01/02: Congress is not doing its job
09/26/02: Confronting pathetic Americans in a post 9-11 world
09/19/02: Don't be fooled by Saddam
09/05/02: Necessary or not, getting congressional approval for war is common-sense
08/28/02: In defense of terrorism
08/22/02: Saddam Hussein is extremely popular in "Arab street," so why attack him?
08/15/02: My potpourri
08/09/02: Traitors: Journalistic and 'patriotic'
07/31/02: Euros should spend their time analyzing their own country's wartime actions
07/25/02: I may know next to nothing about the stock market, but I'm not getting out
07/18/02: Dems should stop trying to 'Whitewater' the President
07/11/02: Real Americans and the Islamic threat

© 2002, Edward I. Koch